What is your first response when someone hurts you? Maybe you want to retaliate. Or perhaps your outward attitude doesn’t change, but inside you are quietly nursing a dark bitterness and resentment. These reactions strike us as understandable and perfectly natural, don’t they?
In reality, however, unforgiveness is one of the most destructive behaviors possible. Impacting every prayer, every relationship, and practically every thought you have, it is a land mine with the potential to completely destroy your life.
Scripture is clear that we are to openly and willingly forgive anyone who causes us harm. Why? The reason is that we ourselves have been forgiven. The grace that God pours out on each of us should be our motivation and example. If we have received God’s loving pardon, then we simply must do the same for others, even when it seems difficult or unfair.
What is forgiveness? Simply put, it is the act of giving up resentment toward someone, along with the desire to retaliate. In other words, we must surrender three things: the general feeling of resentment, the specific feelings toward a particular individual, and all claims to retribution.
Forgiveness is far more than a simple “I forgive you” statement. It involves a total change of action and an attitude that declares, “Though you wronged me, I love and forgive you. I wish you the best and will help you however I can.” Can you make this statement after being hurt? Pray for those who wrong you, and release your resentment.
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